California's Channel Islands are often called "the Galapagos Islands of North America" due to their unique and diverse array of plants and animals, 145 of which are found nowhere else on earth. It is highly unusual to have such an assemblage of "one of a kind" species located in such a small area, a product of evolution in isolation on the islands. Unfortunately this isolation has also made some of these species vulnerable.
One of these is the diminutive island fox. Feral pigs played a pivotal role in the catastrophic decline of island foxes. Formerly rare or occasional visitors, golden eagles took up residence on the islands, sustained by the year-round supply of piglets. Golden eagles predation placed the island fox on the brink of extinction. Feral pigs also destroyed native vegetation, cause widespread erosion, threaten rare plants, and disturbed archeological sites.
Did You Know?
The only reptile found on Santa Barbara Island is the endemic and threatened island night lizard. These lizards can live up to 20 years or more, but once established in a territory generally remain within a 3-meter radius their entire life.